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Jonathan 6, Washington 5, Obama 5, John Mccain 5, John Brennan 5, George W. Bush 5, Hagel 5, Dick Cheney 4, Chuck Hagel 4, Msnbc 4, Paul 3, Benedict 3, Joe Biden 2, Skola 2, United States 2, The Home Depot 2, Tom Hagel 2, E.j. 2, Skoela 2, Latin America 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    February 11, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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to get her oven baked taste straight from the microwave. like her oven roasted chicken baked in a rich, creamy alfredo sauce. she calls them her new comfort bakes. marie callender's. it's time to savor. the cli church has been given a once in a millennium opportunity. what will they do with it? it is monday, february 11th, and this is "now."
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joining us today fortune assistant managing editor lee gallagher and msnbc contributor jonathan kapart of the washington post. pope benedict xvi is doing what no pope has done in 719 years. he has decided to ab -- he was elevated to the papacy after the death of pope john paul ii. news of this is reverb rating around the country and around the world. nearly one quarter of the united states, 74 million americans, are catholic, and worldwide there are 1.1 billion members of the church.
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>> encompassing a range of issues from contraception to policy. the timing of the announcement comes as a surprise. just two days before ash wednesday, which marks the start of the lentin season, the holyist period on the catholic calendar. joining us from washington, the host of msnbc's "hardball" chris matthews, and contributor and washington post columnist e.j. deon. chris, my colleague, the light in the darkness on many things political. >> right. >> what do you make of this announcement coming as it does two days before ash wednesday? it seems like a major surprise. to what degree do you think the catholic church will seize on this as a moment to pivot? >> you may think so, but i don't think so. i don't think it's going to be a moment of pivot. i think it's probably planned. i think benedict, joseph ratzinger wanted to be pope last team. he planned to do it. he gave a mark anthony speech. we all heard it during the funeral, which we covered last
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time. it looks to me like basically he has a 67 voters, majority of voters, in the college of cardinals that he has appointed personally. i think they'll be watching who he wants. if he wants this fellow skoela, he is going to get him. >> it's not the ora of the papacy itself, and you, i think rightfully so, say that the decision could open up a period of soul-searching in the catholic church has, in fact, badly needed. >> right. that point about the most modern thing he did is a quote from michael sean winters, a very
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smart watcher and student of the catholic church. you know, i was listening to chris, and i think he has the politics broadly right, but this is kind of macciavelli versus the holy spirit here. >> which one? >> exactly. >> i don't represent the holy spirit. i just want to say those are the two views. because he is right. skola is the favorite going in, and the question is are all the votes lined up, or is there a real argument among these bishops about the future of the church? now, let's -- we who are american liberals shouldn't pretend that the church is going to go racing off to the left side all of a sudden. however, i think that skola is not the favorite that benedict was. when benedict in last papal election all the conservatives move he was their candidate. not only that, the people who wanted to be pope in the future knew that he would be the perfect guy to hold on to the papacy for a while while their
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chances improved. i think that the votes in the first round, the first couple of rounds will likely be more fragmented than they were the last time, which would give a chance to people like peter turks or some others. there are a bunch of names. my american very dark horse is sean o'malley of boston. i say that partly because i'm biassed. he was a bishop of my hometown of fall river. he has very close ties with latin american bishops and as in the american election, the latino vote is very important in this one. >> cress, let's talk about the doctrine of the catholic church at this point. i mean, a lot of folks, like benedict, would end up being more conservative than he actually was. that said, i'm sure there are a lot of liberal catholics that were looking to him for more guidance. he came out against gay marriage, but he had a fairly progressive stance on poverty. >> yes. >> there is a constant tension about where the church could go
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on these social issues. do you think that changes? do you think we can look forward to a absolutely more progressive catholic doctrine going forward? >> i have to address this as a lehman, and i have to do it in political, secular terms, but i think the church broke its pick with vittae back with paul. when the pope came out and made birth control a sin and stuck to that policy, even in this age we live in now, i think they lost a lot of people. you know, if you go to catholic church every sunday, you never hear ever, ever, err a sermon on birth control because the church knows that people who are most faithful to the church, not all of them, of course, use birth control. that's part of a loving marriage. marriage isn't about having sex a few times and having a few kids and that's the end of it. it's about a loving physical relationship for years, medical death, and sex is a big part of that, and the church is not really thought through that relationship. it's only thought about procreation. i would say it has to be expanded upon, refined, and i
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would like to see a pope do it because one of the best ways to avoid abortion, which most people -- including me, would like to avoid, make very rare at least, make that choice a difficult choice rare, is to have common use of birth control. in the church's failure to push birth control or even allow for it morally, they have really held back one of the ways to reduce this prevalence now of the use of abortion as birth control, which many people think is just not really acceptable morally. it's a great opportunity to revisit it. if the next pope has the courage and the vision and the spirituality i think to take it on. i'm sure e.j. and i agree on this. i hope we do. >> i want to bring in our folks here in new york. leann, jonathan. the abortion question is one thing. the contraception thing is an entirely different piece, and there is the sex abuse scandal piece, which i don't think the catholic church has done a particularly good job of handing, and certainly the next pope is going to have to address, jonathan. >> the next pope will have to address it, but it's a matter
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of -- i'm blanking on the blank of cardinals that meet -- >> the conclave that meets. >> the college. >> thank you, e.j. the college of cardinals that decides who the next pope is. i'm not sure if they're going to be talking about who is the person that's going to best be able to hand the sex abuse scandal in the united states and around the world, but, you know, going to something that chris talked about, he talked about the -- his frontrunner skola for pope, for successor, i'm just wondering where he fits in idealogically with ratzinger, with pope benedict, because as e.j. said, there's not going to be some rush to the left in the new pope, but is the next pope going to be to the right of ratzinger? >> chris, you know, and e.j., if not to the left, perhaps there can be a pick that sort of more broadly or addresses the growth of the catholic church around the world, and we are talking about sort of traditionalists
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here, and if you look at where the catholic church is expanding, it's latin america. it's the philippines. it's not old europe. i mean, certainly that is a powerhouse for catholicism. traditionally, historically. there are a lot of catholics there, and when you look at the future of catholicism it's browner than the catholic church might imagine. >> we've been talking for aa while, although it hasn't happened yet, of a third world bishop. either from latin america or possibly from africa. that's where peter turkson who is from ghana is an interesting possibility. i think he is on people's list. a, it was not anticipated, but, b, it wasn't anticipated that he would be as progressive a pope as he turned out to be. i think if you are on the more liberal side of the church, which you're praying for, is a
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surprise of that sort. >> i'm completely with e.j. on that, and if you are a progressive, a liberal these days in the church, you are hoping for like a felix frankfurther to surprise f.d.r. because you got to bet for a surprise because there aren't any liberal front runners. i have to get back to like in the united states when we vote, it's two who votes that matter. if you don't vote, you don't count. 28 of the voters are italian. start with that. 62 are european, which is already a majority of the electorate that actually votes. 67 were personally picked by benedict. don't think that won't matter. 67, a strong majority, were pecked by the current pope, and when he signals who his favorite is, it will really matter. i love doing this, by the way. it's more fun than anything i have done lately. trying to figure this thing out. it's a horse race. here's the question. if there's an early big vote, obviously for skoela, he will
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win, but if it does show a weakness, and oh, not another 71-year-old guy, another one of these setups, we want an open vote and take a couple of weeks. if they really want to think about it and take on some doctrinal questions as they do it implicitly i think it could be somebody else. i don't see any big liberal out there that has that skif challenge to skola right now. >> one other thing about this electorate is that they all know each other. it's like an election in a small town. >> it is quite literally a gentleman's club, yes. >> right. so personal relationships are really going to matter in this. it's like our original electoral college a little bit. >> god, i love this stuff. >> it's what i teach my kids about school electrics. when they finally start listening to me. i said it all comes down to one, two, three, four. you get your ones locked in. you call your best friends and say i know you're going to vote for me, but i'm asking you to vote for me. then you go to the twos and say i got to make a little bit of a pitch to these people. then you go to the undecideds
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when you are done with the people that have you have locked in and then you go to the undecideds and you don't talk to the fours. you don't want to insight them or enlighten them. lock in your base early. i know you can't do this overtly, but there must be ways to do it in the college of cardinals. the one, two, three, four rule. >> call chris after the show. >> an insightive mind on politics and all things vatican-related. e.j. deon and chris matthews, thank you as always. chris, tonight, of course, you'll have more on this topic. something teltz me he has a few more things to add. at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on msnbc. lee accident i wanted to ask you this question. >> sure. >> and it is -- we are talking about the sort of modernization of the catholic church. it never even occurs to us to talk about the topic of the fact that there are no women in the upper echelons. there's no female leadership. >> no, there's not. a lot has to change for that to happen, but chris brought up the whole point. our world is changing, and this
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institution for thousands and thousands of years, you know, is going to have to figure out how to change it because one of the other crisis that the pope inherited, along with the sex abuse scandal, is simply the fact that we are becoming an increasingly secular society, and there are ways to kind of, you know, stop that from happening. not stop it from happening, but just embrace it or deal with it, and as chris was saying, kind of welcome maybe a greater, you know or at least address these changing times. >> a broadly diverse coalition. >> don't forget, one example of how the pope did modernize is he is on twitter. i think -- >> i would trade the twitter if they would let some women into the catholic church. >> twitter? women? anyway, after the break, during tomorrow night's state of the union president obama is expected to offer a clear message regarding his prescriptions for economic recovery. as for republicans, not so much. we'll discuss the president's agenda and the gop's mixed messages. next on "now."
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this past election president obama won 126 more electoral votes than mitt romney, and he intends to make clear in tomorrow's staflt union that the math adds up to a mandate. based on conversations with democrats close to the president, politico's writes "less a presidential olive branch than a congressional cattle prod." while his second inaugural address outlined a moral argument for the president's social priorities, the state of the union will see a return to jobs, the economy, and the middle class. against the back drop of congressional debate over deficit reduction and the sequester, president obama will
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call for more public spending offset by savings and new revenue. the president's decision to shift focus back to the economy isn't surprising when you take a look at public polling. the economy, jobs, and the budget deficit are at the top of the list for budget concerns. legal immigration and strengthening gun laws ranks 17th and 18th respectively. the new strategy may reflect a decision to strike while republicans are on their heels and plagued by internal conflict. for the third year in a row, the gop will not present a unified front in their response to the state of the union. in 2011 when the republican party chose paul ryan to give its official response, the tea party issued its own rebuttal. >> instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt. it was unlike anything we've ever seen before in the history of the country. >> last year a gop response by mitch daniels had competition from the herminator.
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>> in a word i heard the speech, and it came across as a hodge podge of little ideas. >> this year senator marco rubio will deliver the republican response, while rubio was once the standard bearer for the tea party, the group is still opting for its own rival rebuttal from the man who said this after the past election. >> there is one compromise i would be in favor of, and that's that all spending should be cut. >> joining the panel now to discuss is msnbc contributor ari melber and jake sherman. jake, what are the optics here? ran paul on cnn said to me i see it as an extra response, but it doesn't really project party unity to have different responses to the president. >> i think if john boehner and mitch mcconnell had their choice here, they would have one person going forward with the response. you know ran paul is not likely to give his remarks over to the party of the vetted. he is not coordinating with them
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on message. this is where the party is right now. the party has two different factions, and as much as they want to say they're together and they have they're together on cutting spend and on not raising taxes, there is a conservative beening that ran paul represents that's not going to go along with the party's pulpit. >> there's been a lot of thundering and complaining -- i don't know if thundering is really -- >> classic thundering. >> there's been some complaining by folks on the right that the president needs to stop campaigning. you know, he is going to make three stops after the state of the union, and he needs to get back to the work of legislating, and i don't work at the white house. if i had to channel what they might be thinking, it's, a, the campaigning thing and the public mandate seems to be working pretty well so far for me, but who do you want me to talk to? your guys can't even get plan b passed. >> yeah. it's a classic beltway criticism that doesn't have any content. this gop house, as you documented, has spent a lot of its "governing time" doing
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basically made up message events, like trying to rig health care dozens of times, which is not a congressional activity. it's a political activity. i think the president has been very clear about trying to negotiate and govern in town, but he is the president. he is going to lead and reach out to people around the country. >> and if we're being fair about sort of political motivations or strategic motivations here, jonathan, we read those pew numbers. the president spent almost two months since the election talking about innovation and gun control and not really focused on the economy. major garrett writes, "the uncharacteristically early white house preview of the speech suggests as a sense of internal -- suggests a sense of internal nervousness. in the past week some democrats have warned mr. president he risked losing touch with economic concerns as he dealt repeatedly with guns, immigration, and climate change." >> well, as weave seen over the weekend, excuse me, that, you know, the president is going to
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talk about the economy. if the stories in the "new york times" and washington post are to be believed. the president hasn't taken the eye off the ball on the economy. the president like everyone m white house is watching they know where the country is. they know what the country cares about and they know what the country supports. when it comes to immigration and gun control and the economy as the election prove, the american people are on the side of the president, not overwhelmingly but they are certainly more with the president than they are with members of congress who are standing in the way of the president getting anything done, which is why he is in "campaign mode" because if congress isn't going to work with you, then at least get the american people to get congress to pay attention to work with you. >> i want to add one thing here. it doesn't matter if he goes to every city in the country and spends his entire state of the union talking about spending on infrastructure and things of that nature, but the republican-led house is not going to go along with that.
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this is really an act in futility. >> dwoent know how. to be honest, we don't know how much of the speech is going to push for infrastructure spending. god forbid we have better infrastructure spending. the economic piece is difficult for the president given the recovery has been really slow. we have the numbers from january. long-term unemployment has held steady. that is a lot of people who have been out of work for six months or more, and it is at its lowest rate since june 2009. that's a long-term number. the short-term and sort of standard unemployment numbers haven't budged considerably, and so the president does -- is in a tricky position in terms of highlighting an economic plan that legislatively may go nowhere, and if you talk about what he has done so far, there's a sense of perhaps malaise among the american public. >> in many weighs it shouldn't be a surprise that he is expected to talk on so much about jobs and the economy because that remains the biggest issue on everyone's mind. we have a recovery. we do have one. it's been very slow, and it's
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been -- it's had these lurchz lately because of everything that's happening with the fiscal cliff and, you know, on top of all that, if you look beyond just these past few years, the story of wage growth and income growth especially contrasted with what happened in the stock market. it is sort of a tale of two economies right now. you know, this is our biggest issue. in a way -- you know, this is -- the continuing narrative of what he inherited and it's also one reason he may be focused on the social issues is because ironically it may -- he may feel like it's easier to leave an imprint with those things than it is with the economy. who knows what's going to happen? >> it looks like it's going in the right direction. >> you haunt the halls of congress, jake. the ghost of christmas future. what is going to happen with the sequester? we saw some -- we have some sound from the sunday shows. it seems like each side is digging in its heels, and it's now really the blame game more than nelgs. let's play a little bit of sound from the leadership and congress. >> what we do need is more revenue and more cuts.
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>> the president accepted no spending cuts when, in fact, the fess cal cliff deal 45 days ago. you get no spending cuts back then. then you're going to get no revenue now. snoo what the president is proposing for the rest of this year at least is that we deal with the sequester the same way we have the first two months. evenly split between revenue and cuts. >> he just got his tax hike on the wealthy, and you can't in this town every three months raise taxes. >> so revenue and cuts versus no revenue or the cuts. that seems to be the parties are locked down into their positions. >> i think you're going to see the next couple of weeks how seriously republicans can hold that line. if you start seeing defense contractors lay off tons of people and people's districts or you see, you know, economic fall-out from these huge cuts in the pentagon which both parties have said they want to avoid, you might see republicans open to revenue. there are republicans on the record saying that they would look at revenue to block these cuts, the sequester. john mccain said that the other
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day. republicans to exact a political victory here need to get spending cuts. i mean, they settled for a deal in the fiscal cliff that was not good for party leaders. they are going to hold very, very tight on that, and, by the way, after the sequester -- >> do you think that tea party response is almost sort of covering their bases there? i mean, the tea partiers get to say we had a strong message and held tight to our values. you know, these moderates went and made deals with the president. we're not to blame. if you -- in effect trying to sort of head off primary challenge if one is going to come up in 2014. >> that's the question. ran paul is playing a tough game. he has a personal history with mcconnell, who supported, you know, his challenger down there originally, and now he is trying to come out and do what cantor has done, which is get credits for making noise, but ultimately to jake's point, what you have here is a little bit like if you have ever been in a relationship with someone who threatens to break up with you, and it's a tool. >> happens all the time. >> and it's a tool, but then
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when the bluff is called, that person doesn't actually want to break up, that's a lot of what's going on with the republicans. i don't mean to put them on the couch, but it's not that they don't have some of these feelings. they have these feelings about smaller government. we have already shrunk government for several years. we have lower discretionary spending than we've had under george w. bush and what do we have now? the question what do they want? close military bases, right? gut medicare. something they talk about, but isn't actually popular when you, what, literally cut medicare. >> then when you end up cutting medicare. in terms of the sequester, if and when the president does address it tomorrow, is not supposed to focus on the defense piece, but on the nondefense piece. the programs that target, you know, young mothers, children. interesting the fact that he is not going to sort of the middle on this one, which is to say to talk at length about the defense cuts, but really the harm to low income families is definitely a choice. >> defense cuts, there's a lot that can be cut without weakening our country. there really is.
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that is an enormous, enormous, you know, chunk of revenue, as everybody knows. this is -- it would all be easier if we had more growth. that's the overwhelming story here. it's like if you have more growth, everything is better. you know, everything is lighter. it's sunnier. there's more tax income to get revenue from. everything is easier. that's what we need to focus on. more than anything else. >> watering the plant. not pruning it. >> we're going to break on that. coming up, the boem administration refines a controversial bush era national security tactic and in the process sidesteps a few others. we'll discuss drones and the obama-bush doctrine conundrum just ahead. twins. i didn't see them coming.
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coming up, former vice president dick cheney blasts president obama's marshall security team. we will discuss dick cheney's comments and the gop's push to go offense on defense next on "now." all stations come over to mission a for a final go.
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five seconds. three, two, one. standing by for capture. the most innovative software on the planet... dragon is captured. is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers. for a long time now there's been too much secrecy in this city. that era is now over. starting today every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those that seek to withhold information, but those that seek to make it known. >> at the start of his first term president obama promise aide clean break from the bush administration's terror policies. today is he facing heat from critics who complain that his use of drone aircraft to target and sass nature enemies of the state bears a striking similarity to the policies of his predecessor. the "new york times" notes four years into the tenure the one-time critic of president
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george w. bush finds himself cast as a present day mr. bush. just filing the muscular application of force and the defense of the nation while detractors complain he sacrificed the country's core values in the name of security. some on the left are wondering what is different other than a name of the guy in the oval office? >> the policy seems to be that, yes, we will fry people anywhere in the world with our flying killer robots because someone we know wrote it down on a piece of paper and, therefore, it's legal. i know obama is a swell guy and bush was an evil oaf, but it really is the seam policy, isn't it? >> meanwhile, some on the right are crying foul about a blatant double standard. >> i find it hilarious that people have all this patience for illegal architecture to be crafted after the fact. if this had been president george w. bush's administration revealing that this many drone attacks were going on, there would be impeachment hearings underway. the help ok si sort of has
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republicans steaming. >> if it seems just a little hip critical to criticize the administration for policies put in place by conservatives, the architect of the bush anti-terror manifesto himself dick cheney has found a slightly different angle from which to criticize the president. speaking of cabinet picks chuck hagel, john kerry, and john brennan, the former vice president told the wyoming republican party over the weekend that "the performance now of barack obama as he staffs up the marshall security team for the second term is dismal. frankly, what he has appointed are second rate people." if you can't get him on the drone stuff, jonathan, go for the people who are manning the drones, basically. >> i guess it's a bit of sour grapes. i mean, what we're looking at -- notice that in the video that you showed january 21st, 2009. barack obama had just been inaugurated president not 24 hours earlier, and what we had seen from his promise to close gitmo to where we are now is
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someone who campaigned one way, but then getting into the white house, seeing the intelligence reports, seeing the breadth of manufacturings that you have, and then having to have to govern in a way that forces you to make really just uncomfortable decisions for someone like -- >> i would bet those are some of the toughest choices of his administration. >> i think david brooks talked about this in his column last week when i tacked about machiavellian and i find it laughable, though, that you have dick cheney blasting the president for maintaining pretty much all of the policies that he and president george w. bush -- >> ari, maintaining if not sort of sidestepping the thorniest parties of the issue, which is john, you brought this up in a wall street journal piece, and i'm not one that usually quotes from yon yu, but he said, look, you don't have to answer the questions about torture and rendition and military tribe unls if you are basically
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killing people. there are no bodies. >> that's the policy shift. >> there's a policy issue. even machiavelli wrote down. this administration has been loathe to do unless under extreme pressure. now in the second term, to alex's point, that is the fundamental shift in the law. a lot of people want to talk about the policy and the politics, but the law of war and detention governs things very differently, so what we had under george w. bush in the live conflict against what was really the first real stateless actor that had the powers or at least the ability to exhibit force like a state actor, was a lot of new questions that i think were handled very poorly by the office of legal counsel and doj at the time, but they were about detention. can you hold guantanamo open? do these people have habus rights? the supreme court did, i might add. can you abuse these people and what level of abuse amounts to torture? those were all very tough
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questions. that one handled it poorly. >> as a side note john brennan is unable to say whether he thinks waterboarding is torture. >> that is the legacy and stain and those of us that are journalists and lawyers and we have to say that john brennan is still wrong about that to this day, and now he is up for this important post. the second point, to your question and what you were talking about is if you're not in a detention, you know, context, right, according to dan clayman who wrote killer capture, which is one of the definitive accounts of the first term of obama on these issues, we've only captured one suspected terrorist as opposed to over 500 under bush. they are a different series of questions. it's illegal under the laws of war to kill when you can capture. the administration's argument, and it is a practical one, although i think it has a lot of holes, is we're in a lot of places where we cannot capture anymore, and this is classral damage, and we save many lives by not doing full ground scale operations. that is their substantive defense. >> i would say helping that is the sort of smoke screen that's
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built in by the lack of information we have as far as casualties. i mean, these are estimates, right? there's a u.k.-based bureau of investigative journalism which tallies them at pakistan. pakistan there are 473 to 893 casualties. yemen, 72 to 178. somalia, 11 to 57. we just don't know. it's much harder to argue sort of what is a collateral damage, who is being killed who doesn't need to be killed. jake, to go to the sort of political domestic political piece here, all of the -- you have three confirmations that have been -- because she's not suesan rice. there's a controversy. we have republicans who are in a weird position on foreign policy and national security precisely because the president has been so aggressive. in a lot of ways there's not a lot of daylight between what republicans do in the same position as democrats. unless we're bipartisan, there is a lot of people in particular, chuck hagel as
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defense secretary nominee, and there has been some talk by some in the gop leadership that they will filibuster his nomination. john mccain saying he won't. what is your read on all that many. >> i think it will be a very interesting move to filibuster. it will be a drastic move. wron if you guys saw, but carl livin said he will hold a vote on the nomination tomorrow, so they are moving ahead with it. my hunch is that they won't because i think deep down inside republican senators believe that a president does deserve to choose his advisors, and i think it sets a bad press debt because one day there will be a republican in the white house again. maybe not, i guess. the venom from republican senators towards chuck hagel is pretty remarkable. this is not a fwi who they hold in high regard by and large. he basically endorsed president obama in 2008. john mccain on that committee. they don't want to set a precedent, i think, is the main thing, but i have been eating my words in a couple of days. >> you never do know what's going to happen in the house. it's also worth noting that
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northbound -- there was some talk that maybe he will stand down. he is not going to walk away from this. said tom hagel, his brother. the way he is responding to this, he is just going to fight harder. lee, what seems to be clear is that hagel is obama's guy, and at the end of the day fight chuck hagel all you want, but the person who is actually going to be dictating national security and foreign policy is sitting at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. >> absolutely. many people said when he first nominated hagel that, oh, this is picking a fight. i don't think anyone realized how much of a fight it would be. as this has played out. it's interesting that tom hagel has come out. he has only spoken a couple of times. the story of the two of them fighting together is quite powerful. he said way back when, he said if anyone thinks my brother is a pacifist, he is a fool. of course, it's his brother. anyway, i mean, it does look like it's probably likely, but it's -- >> it's surprising he is the one coming under the most scrutiny gin the fact that brennan is the architect of the drone and the cia and john kerry is at state
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and we don't have verbalized obama doctrine. it's because of some slight against mccane during the 2008 campaign, and now here we have senator mccain at the center of the hagel controversy -- confirmation controversy. i'm not surprised by it. >> that's the thing. to alex's point, this is so washington that hagel is the one under tank and not john brennan. it shows three things, i think. number one, that obamafication of a lifelong republican is too much for the republicans. my response is great, you don't get any republicans in the cabinet. if you can't handle this conservative republican from a red state, then forget it. we're not even going to work with you on that. number two -- >> then bernie sanders is going to be the secretary. >> number two, that policy always comes second. the guy who was right about the iraq war and led at a time when it was more difficult from a
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conservative position is punished by that from everyone whereas the guy who in my opinion was clearly wrong about torture and has not offered a strong defense by which i mean a legitimate one of these drone issues and secrecy. he wants to optimize secrecy. he is fine. brennan is fine. third, that there is no real policy oriented oversight of these individuals. everything to jonathan's point is, oh, we don't personally like hagel anymore for our partisan reasons, and john brennan seems leak a good guy regardless. it tells you a lot about both parties? washington. >> if the republican party wants to pick a fight on something substantive and worthy of greater policy discussion, we could talk about syria because that seems like an area where the president has not spent a lot of attention. 60,000 people have been killed. john mccane has been tough on that, and if i were john mccain, not that i am john mccain, i feel like that is an important issue that really could move the nation forward and hopefully move some amount of our foreign policy forward.
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we have to leave it there. the senate is expected to vote to reauthorize violence against women act later today. like many bills these days, the legislation is likely to face just a little republican opposition in the lower chamber. we will look at the players and the sticking points just ahead. and...done.
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following a series of sobering defeats this past november the gop is working to repair its image with several voting blocks, particularly women. why are some republicans holding up passage of the violence against women act. that and so much more after the break. what do we do when something that's hard to paint,
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>> this afternoon the senate is expected to vote to renew the violence against women act, which expired in 2011 after the house and senate could not agree to new terms. there are signs, surprise, of discord in the house. disagreement in the lower chamber stems from new divisions in the senate bill which protect native americans, immigrants, and same-sex couples. these provisions were not included as part of the original legislation passed in 1994. the main sticking point? house concerns about a section of the 218 page bill which would allow nonnative americans suspected of domestic violence on native lands to be tried in tribal courts. jake, ghost of congress future, is this going to pass? we have word from some in the house leadership basically saying this has been distilled to an issue of sovereignty. whether or not nonnatives can be tried in tribal courts, sovereign tribal courts.
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the supreme court, they say, has said that that is not constitutionally possible. the back and forth over this, it is -- is it enough to prevent this thing from passage? >> we talked to probably 50 to 75,000 members a week. not one of them is talking about this. this is not an issue that the house republican conference is interested in. i mean, there might be segment that is want to get this passed, but this has been hang out here for a we're now. there's no real urgency in the house about this. >> we heard back in the day there are rumors of the vice president and majority leader cantor working together on this. >> eric cantor said on the house floor in his colloquy with hoyer last friday that he was in conversation with joe biden to fwet this thing resolved. joe biden said that's not the case. it's unclear to me where this stands. again, there's not real urgency. the state sovereignty is the issue that's holding this up. lgbt, immigrants, and native americans are the big sticking points, but john boehner and eric cantor said they're going to put bills through committee
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and do everything in a very transparent way. if they don't do that right now and if they craft a deal, they will be reneging on their first and only promise to congress. >> at the same time this is the republican party that's trying to move forward and, like, remarket itself to women, people of color. >> this is their chance. >> this is their chance. >> just the seam way after hurricane seasoned it was such an easy lay-up to look great, with the bill there. especially if you look, again, our -- we're changing so much -- women are everywhere now. look at the senate. >> they are. there are two of them here. >> look at the ceos. look at the halls of congress. i mean, everywhere around you. this is kind of a no-brainer. i mean, it's really ridiculous. >> it compounds the problem. the house republican conference has one female committee chair, one woman in leadership, i bunch of women from new york, sandy adams, who is responsible in a public way for the bill last time that have been swept out of office. this is a party that's struggling not just legislatively, but in a public relations sense with women. getting this done, as you said,
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would probably go in helping that problem, and they can't seem to get it done after a year. >> let me say it's not really particularly good when you have tom cole saying to the "new york times" let's just talk politics. this will pass the senate. the president is for it, and we're holding up the domestic violence bill that should be retune because you don't want to help native women who are the most vulnerable over a philosophical point. tom cole has an r in front of the state aabbreviation for oklahoma. he is a republican. unfortunately, have to leave it there, but thank you -- i know. i'm sorry, jon. >> i had a point. next time. >> there's always next time. thank you to ari, jake, lee, and jonathan. that's all for now. see you back here tomorrow noon eastern, country a.m. pacific p. until then, can you find us at facebook.com/now with alex, andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers!
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